Twitter Just Rolled Out Its Own Take on Stories
In case Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, YouTube Stories, and LinkedIn Stories weren’t enough places for you to share content that disappears after 24 hours, Twitter has finally launched their own version of the popular social media feature. “Fleets” operates pretty much exactly how you’d expect, enabling you to post informal content—text, photos, and video—that doesn’t warrant a permanent place on your page.
“Through our tests in Brazil, Italy, India, and South Korea, we learned Fleets helped people feel more comfortable joining the conversation—we saw people with Fleets talk more on Twitter,” design director Joshua Harris and product manager Sam Haveson write in a blog post. “Those new to Twitter found Fleets to be an easier way to share what’s on their mind. Because they disappear from view after a day, Fleets helped people feel more comfortable sharing personal and casual thoughts, opinions, and feelings.”
That thing you didn’t Tweet but wanted to but didn’t but got so close but then were like nah.— Twitter (@Twitter) November 17, 2020
We have a place for that now—Fleets!
Rolling out to everyone starting today. pic.twitter.com/auQAHXZMfH
While Fleets allows users to post video, video stories have failed to take off in any meaningful way on platforms other than Instagram and Snapchat. With people loyal to those two platforms, it’s unlikely that Twitter will be able to break through, especially since it’s not primarily a visual platform. It’s a text-based platform, which is what makes Fleets unique. Users can post their thoughts and share other people’s tweets as a Fleet that disappears after 24 hours. But that may also worsen some of the problems that Twitter is currently grappling with.
Twitter has been actively battling the spread of misinformation and disinformation—most notably from people like President Trump, who has been disputing the settled results of the election—and Fleets is just another place they’re going to have to monitor for falsi information and abuse. A feature that actively encourages more casual, thoughtless opinions is dangerous in the hands of people who were doing that anyways. Plus, screenshotting is still a thing. A Fleet may disappear after 24 hours, but anyone who decides to can capture and preserve it on their feed.
Users are skeptical, but that’s to be expected after a big platform shift. Already, people have quieted down about their frustration with Instagram’s update last week, and it’s likely Fleets will also quickly assimilate itself into Twitter. In other words, all this panic may be … fleeting.